Man who shot at mother outside school could face federal charges

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The man who allegedly shot at a mother outside an elementary school Thursday morning was taken into custody later that afternoon after a SWAT standoff in the Cherry neighborhood, according to police.

[STANDOFF PHOTOS: Man in custody after shooting at woman outside school]

Police said they arrested Delmond Cunningham, 34, after investigators surrounded an apartment complex on Luther Street at Cherry Street.

Federal agents are very interested in putting a detainer on Cunningham, sources told Channel 9.

That suggests he could face federal charges in connection with Thursday's shooting.

Delmond Cunningham

Officers initially responded to a shots-fired call at Villa Heights Elementary School near North Davidson Street around 7:30 a.m.

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Officers said when they arrived they spoke with several witnesses who said a man was shooting at a woman in the parking lot.

After the shooting, police said the suspect and the victim left in separate vehicles.

Police said they received a call from the victim a short time later saying she was at police headquarters.

She told officers her ex-boyfriend, Cunningham, drove up behind her vehicle and followed her into the school parking lot.

She said Cunningham fired shots at her car. Police told Channel 9 her child was inside the car at the time as well but neither of them were hurt.

One of those rounds entered the bedroom window of a nearby home, narrowly missing Vanessa Hart who was in bed.

"Oh gosh," Hart said. "I've been shaking all day long, ever since."

Hart said she rolled over to answer her phone when she heard the window crash. The bullet pierced her pillow.

“And I just thank God that that phone rang because if it didn’t, he probably would’ve killed me and nobody would’ve even known it,” Hart said.

Channel 9 learned there weren’t a lot of children in the parking lot when the shots were fired because classes didn’t start until 8 a.m.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools confirmed the school was placed on lockdown as a precaution.

[RELATED: North Carolina school safety committee meeting in Charlotte]

Channel 9 was there as officers placed crime tape around the scene and searched the surrounding neighborhood for the shooter.

Many people told Channel 9 they’re grateful the child who was in the car when that gun was fired was not hurt.

"The child was just shaken up,” Lt. Brad Koch, with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, said. “You can imagine trying to get dropped off to go to school and it gets interrupted by gunfire.”

Chopper 9 Skyzoom was overhead when police surrounded an apartment complex looking for Cunningham on Luther Street just before 5 p.m. Officers were outside with their guns drawn.

Investigators also had several streets in the neighborhood blocked off during the standoff.

Police said Cunningham surrendered after speaking with negotiators.

Channel 9 was there as he was taken into custody and put in the back of a patrol car.

Channel 9 was also there as Cunningham was led into police headquarters to be interviewed.

On Friday, Cunningham was scheduled to make his first court appearance but officials said he refused to leave his jail cell.

His next court date is Sept. 10.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Headquarters in uptown was also shut down to the public Thursday afternoon for security concerns because of this case.

Channel 9 dug into Cunningham's past and found this isn't the first time he's been involved in a police standoff.

[PAST COVERAGE: Man barricaded in uptown apartments prompts school lockdown]

In 2016, police surrounded an uptown apartment after they said Cunningham barricaded himself inside. Officers were there to serve him a warrant.

In 2017, police said they were looking for Cunningham again for breaking-and-entering and larceny charges. Police said he cut off his electronic monitor.

Police said Cunningham was charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, three counts of felony domestic violence protective order violation with a weapon, shooting into occupied property, possession of a firearm on educational property and communicating threats.

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